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To move to France?

(133 Posts)
FasterThanASnakeAndAMongoose Wed 28-Sep-16 15:33:02

Dh has the opportunity to transfer to the French office of his company. It's in a nice bit of the south of France.

We have 2 dc (7 months and 2yo). I am on maternity leave from my teaching job. I could potentially find work teaching in France (I have a French degree and am bilingual). Resettlement package is good. We could rent our house out and rent over there while we decided if we wanted to make it permanent. Kids could grow up bilingual. The lifestyle would be great. We could go skiing at the weekends and drink wine and go to French supermarkets.

On the other hand...

Dh doesn't speak a word of French. The company does all business in English but he'd still have to learn if we were living there. I could teach him though, and work would also help with tutoring.

Our life here is really good. We have loads of friends. We've just spent a fortune renovating our house - much more than we would have if we were going to rent it out. We're in the catchment for the best state schools in our town. Our families are all within a few hours drive. Parents are getting older and might need us more (although they all think we should go). I'd have to give up my job which I love.

We would initially go for a couple of years, but even that would be such an upheaval. My job would be gone, we'd miss the school application process for our eldest.

I think it could be really great but I'm also completely terrified at the thought and feel so sad at the idea of leaving our life here behind.

Has anyone done this? Any regrets or tips? Should we just go for it? I don't know what to do.

PanGalaticGargleBlaster Wed 28-Sep-16 16:02:11


Worst that can happen is that you come home again earlier then expected. Your DH will pick up the language soon enough once he is forced to use it.

I had a chance to work in France for a few years and it was a superb experience, leaned the language fairly quickly and made plenty of new friends. I did return to the uk eventually to find that very little had changed amongst my friends.

Seems like a great opportunity!

wasonthelist Wed 28-Sep-16 16:07:16

I would go - but I love France so may be a bit biased.

pollyblack Wed 28-Sep-16 16:09:56

I would go initally for two years then you'd still be in a good position to come back- not been out of teaching in the UK for too long and in time for your eldest to start school but enough time to get a real feel for life there.

I wish I'd done something like this before the kids got so firmly entrenched in to school.

lostoldlogin2 Wed 28-Sep-16 19:16:57

I would definitely go. I live in Spain.....wouldn't go back to the UK for all the tea in China but I'd move to France. Or the Norwich countries. Or almost any other part of Europe, or Thailand or Japan or South Korea .....not the UK though. You will never want to go back once you leave!

justilou Wed 28-Sep-16 20:00:04

GO! Being an expat is one of the best gifts you can give your kids - re- language and experience. We're expats from Australia living in the Netherlands, so I am speaking from experience. Unlike here, in France the healthcare is the best in the world. Wine & cheese galore. Cost of living is cheaper. You can't lose here.
There are lots of super expat websites with advice, like (just an example).
I'm jealous!

WhateverWillBe Wed 28-Sep-16 20:50:10

Definitely go.

I was given an opportunity to re-locate to Malta when our dc were similar ages to yours. We nearly, nearly did it but although Malta is lovely to visit, it's a very different way of life. Although it sounds silly, one of our main deciding factors was how un-green Malta is. We love hiking, live in Wales and regularly go to the Brecon Beacons...I think after 6 months of living in Malta we'd both have been pining.

Anyway...had it been France, we'd have definitely gone.

YelloDraw Wed 28-Sep-16 20:57:54

I would go initally for two years then you'd still be in a good position to come back- not been out of teaching in the UK for too long and in time for your eldest to start school but enough time to get a real feel for life there.


Find out how easy it will be for DH to transfer back tho.

WatchS20 Wed 28-Sep-16 21:03:48

Lucky you! I'd go, what a great opportunity.

BombadierFritz Wed 28-Sep-16 21:09:56

have you looked into teaching out there? state system could be tricky to get into. personally I wouldnt, although i'd happily retire there. a long holiday is enough to remind me of what annoys me about life there, very conformist in a funny kind of way. but you have lived there, I guess, so know what its like. its not far to come back to visit family which is good. be prepared for life to be a bit lonely at first at home with kids tho

Madamfrog Wed 28-Sep-16 21:16:19

If you want to teach in the state sector you have to have a master's degree and then do the capes or agrégation or caplp, which are competitive exams, only the top however many they want that year get through. Once you have done a year of probation you can be sent anywhere in the whole of France because you will be a civil servant ( you don't apply to a school for a job, the ministry sends you somewhere). Family circumstances etc have little incidence on where you are sent, and you can't refuse. Bear this in mind. Or you can be a vacataire or contractuel ie a supply teacher but you won't get paid much or have any job security at all.

mixety Wed 28-Sep-16 21:23:03

OP could teach English as a foreign language (rubbish pay usually though) or in a private school/university without needing to go through all the hoopla to work for state schools. Would be ideal for shorter/flexible hours if wanting to combine with looking after children. But not as a "good" full time income, necessarily.

DotForShort Wed 28-Sep-16 21:27:05

I would go in a heartbeat. smile

Chloecoconut Wed 28-Sep-16 21:44:29


If you speak fluent French you could always do something other than teach. Or private language lessons - lots of options.

You only live once....

Jo210975 Wed 28-Sep-16 21:53:04

We've just finished the 2nd of 4 years in Belgium and would highly recommend living abroad. It gives everyone including the kids (6 and 2 yrs) a great experience. My only regret is that living in an expat community I feel we haven't integrated into local life enough. Doesn't seem that this would be a problem for you so much, already being bilingual. DS1 is in a bilingual FrEn school and I wish we could stay for longer so he becomes fully bilingual, Dd gets the opportunity to start and my french improves. Sadly DH still can't speak the lingo as his work is conducted in English. Family and friends visit often and I'm sure being in the south of France will make you even more popular for visitors. Downside is the lack of day to day family support. Also when kids are young they are more resilient and easier to move from school to school. I'm not sure if we'd have done it around primary /secondary transition.

FrancesNiadova Wed 28-Sep-16 21:53:54

Can I come? Please...?

Cherrysoup Wed 28-Sep-16 22:08:27

Go. What a fab opportunity. If you don't go, will you look back in ten years and wish you'd gone? Will your DH be happy to learn French?

FasterThanASnakeAndAMongoose Wed 28-Sep-16 22:57:22

Wow, thank you everyone for the replies! I've been entertaining my inlaws this evening as they pass through this bit of the country, and DH is conveniently away at the French office grin

All your comments are really helpful and interesting - thank you.

Dh is keen to learn French although I think it'll be hard for him. He really wants to go. His parents are back in the UK now but they were expats for his whole childhood and they lived all over the world. I think that's why it's not such a big deal for him - he's used to that way of life.

I've lived in France while I was studying and loved it, although I never felt like I belonged. I worry about always feeling like an outsider.

I hadn't realised that about the French teaching requirements and will have to look into that a lot more. I've been a primary school teacher here for 10 years (ish) but I might have to do other things. Retraining and being sent just anywhere really wouldn't be an option for me.

I could do supply or have a change of focus - teaching adults maybe. The thing is though that I'm at a point where if we stayed here then I'd be looking for promotion - deputy head would be my goal now that I'm not planning anymore children and starting to think about career again. If I put it on hold then it might be very hard to come back to.

Argh what a dilemma!

I'm not sure how easy it would be for DH to transfer back either. The main office is the French one and the organisation is really reigning back on their UK branch since Brexit. Who knows what the implications will be??

SukiPutTheEarlGreyOn Wed 28-Sep-16 23:46:47

It's one of those life opportunities which seems to have a lot going for it in terms of timing: pre-school age DC (would be more difficult to navigate once they're settled in UK school), DPs still independent. And then there's the useful skill set (your language fluency / teaching potential - even EFL private language school employment could offer a useful way to integrate). Most of all, this would become part of your collective story as a family. My teen DC still talk about when we lived in France even though they were probably too teeny when we moved back to have clear memories. BTW as for missing friends/family - I have a feeling you would need to prepare for quite a few visitors!

EatsShitAndLeaves Thu 29-Sep-16 00:06:20

Going against the grain...

I wouldn't go. Emigrating is a big thing.

I work for an international company and have relocated staff to locations in EMEA and the US.

Generally speaking the "worker" (male or female) assimilates quickly due to workplace camaraderie. Makes friends, learns the language (if needed) and has a jolly time.

The spouse starts off enthusiastic but after 6 months the novelty wears off. Unless they are also working the sense of alienation creeps up and becomes a big issue. This is especially so where language is an issue, but not uncommon even when it's not.

The "worker" can't understand why the spouse is unhappy. They are "living the dream". Not a recipe for success.

I've seen it time and time again. You can say you won't be like that but I've seen very confident spouses break under the alienation.

If you do decide to go then I'd recommend you keep a base in the UK (small flat) near to your family and friends so you can come back and get get some support when you need it.

Either way - good luck.

LaChatte Thu 29-Sep-16 07:12:42

Supply teachers are in short supply in the south of France at the moment, so finding work shouldn't be an issue (and they get paid more than NQTs).
Kids might not want to go back to the UK after a few years, they might resent you for moving back and forth between countries.

LaChatte Thu 29-Sep-16 07:16:57

Which town would you be going to?

EveOnline2016 Thu 29-Sep-16 07:24:25

I wouldn't as I need my friends and family around me.

I did move 100 miles away at one point and I was deeply unhappy

feesh Thu 29-Sep-16 07:34:25

If they're cutting back the UK office ahead of Brexit, it doesn't bode well for his long term prospects if he stays here. I would definitely go.

Glastokitty Thu 29-Sep-16 08:12:12

Go. Moving countries is a great adventure, and terrific for kids, especially if they get another language out of it. It gave my son loads of confidence. And its only France, people can visit you easily. (We're in Oz so its a bit more difficult). Honestly, you only get one shot at life, and its better to look back with no regrets. My dad had the opportunity as a young man to emigrate and bottled it, he always regretted it. And if it doesn't work out, planes goes both ways. Bonne chance!

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